|I know the community and the community has always helped my family out and I want to turn around and give back to the community.|
One of the statistics that Central Community College is quite proud of is that nearly 90 percent of its graduates who are employed full-time remain in the CCC service area. Those numbers will remain high as long as there are CCC graduates like Daniel Flores, who is a two-time graduate of the Lexington Center.
Flores first began his days at CCC in 2010, following his graduation from Lexington High School. He originally began studying education, but then switched to social work before moving on to business.
“As I was halfway through business, I realized I wasn’t liking it,” said Flores. “But I had switched majors so many times that I decided I should just finish it. Business was interesting, but it’s not my passion. I decided my passion is teaching, which was originally what I wanted to do in the first place.”
Putting that passion in motion, Flores began working as a special education para at Lexington High School in 2013. While some may shy away from special education, Flores has found a great deal of satisfaction in it.
“It’s a good feeling when you help someone with something that they’ve been struggling with and once they get it, it’s that ‘aha moment’ on their face,” said Flores.
During this time, Flores also taught religious education classes for third through fifth graders at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Lexington. He had previously worked with this age group when he volunteered in the after-school program at Pershing Elementary School, also in Lexington. Once again, some may shy away from such youngsters, but not Flores.
“I feel like they understand more,” said Flores. “They listen more.”
These two experiences played a key role in Flores’ return to CCC to pursue his education degree, which he earned this past summer. He is planning on enrolling at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to major in either K-12 general education or special education. While the question of what Flores wants to teach is still up in the air, where he would like to teach is not.
“I would maybe like to teach here at Lexington High School or somewhere in this area,” said Flores. “I want to stay in Nebraska definitely. I was raised in Nebraska and I really like it here.”
Flores was born in Mexico and relocated with his parents from California to Nebraska he was very young. His family came to Nebraska to work in the agriculture industry.
“I know the community and the community has always helped my family out and I want to turn around and give back to the community,” said Flores.
Flores credits the faculty and staff at CCC for the assistance he needed to get through his courses of study and for preparing him to transfer for a four-year institution. In fact, if he could earn his bachelor’s degree through CCC, he would.
“Going through CCC here in town gives you the option of doing it online or going to a lecture hall,” said Flores. “It’s not as expensive as going through a university. The possibilities are there. You just have to push forward.”
At a time when funding for Nebraska’s community colleges seems uncertain, Flores believes legislators would do well to look at CCC and the tremendous positive effect it has on his community.
“I would tell them to look at all of the success a lot of students have had going through CCC,” said Flores. “It’s something very good for Nebraska. It shows that we’re growing and striving to do better for our state.”